Eliza Riddick and Influenza Nurses Plaque, Raleigh
The memorial to those who volunteered as nurses during the 1918 Influenza Epidemic is a simple rectangular bronze plaque. The name Eliza Riddick appears above other names on the plaque with an asterisk. She was one of two volunteer nurses in Raleigh who died during the epidemic. The plaque also lists 70 others who volunteered as nurses. The inscription mentions a fountain. It is not known if that refers to a drinking fountain located in Pullen Hall or to the one placed at the Wake County Courthouse and dedicated during the same ceremony.
THIS FOUNTAIN IS IN LOVING APPRECIATION OF / THE VOLUNTARY SERVICES OF THOSE WHO NURSED / THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE COLLEGE STUDENTS / IN THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC OF 1918. / *ELIZA RIDDICK / [Four columns with 70 names]
North Carolina State University Archives
May 14, 1922
“Honor Memory of "Flu" Nurses,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), April 30, 1922, 2
“Memorial to Volunteer Nurses Presented Today,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 14, 1922, 1,5
“Plaque (metal) with names of Raleigh women who nursed students during the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, Object 192,” North Carolina State University, Memorabilia Collection, (accessed December 20, 2015) Link
“Tribute to Heroic Women Who Saved the Community,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 15, 1922, 1,7
“Unveil Tribute to Heroic Women,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), April 4, 1922, 2
Two memorials to influenza nurses were dedicated during services held at Raleigh’s City
Auditorium on May 14, 1922. No services were held at Pullen Hall on the North Carolina State College
(University) campus where the plaque was placed or Wake County Courthouse where a
memorial water fountain was located. Both memorials were uncovered during the dedication
service for viewing afterwards.
Dr. Clarence Poe presided over the memorial service which included short speeches by Josephus Daniels, Dr. Delia Dixon Carrol, Professor Charles M. Meek and Dr. W.L. Poteat. During his comments, Dr. Poteat said that he was “glad that we have come again to a period of memorials. It used to be that Rome had two populations – the men of the flesh, and its men in marble. Marble goes far toward making the human population, for when we lose interest in the marble past we lose our capacity to reproduce it.” Music was provided by the Christ Church Choir and the Kiwanis Quartet
Eliza Riddick was an employee
at what was then called North Carolina State College and this plaque was placed in her honor at
Pullen Hall on the college campus. Pullen Hall burned in 1965, but the plaque survived and is
stored in the University archives.
Memorial drinking fountains (like the Memorial Fountain to Influenza Nurses) were common during the early part of the 20th century. Built during that segregated time they provided two drinking spouts, one for whites and one for non-whites. Surviving examples typically have the non-white spigot removed or both spigots removed.
As of January 2016, the plaque is stored in the North Carolina State University archives.
The Pullen Hall, Y.M.C.A. building where the plaque was located was destroyed in a 1965 arson fire.